Organising an event

Public events can range from village fetes, sporting activities, small food & drink festivals and music events to large concerts and festivals

Whatever the size and expected attendance by members of public, a fire safety strategy and an emergency and evacuation plan play a vital role in managing the safety at the event and are a requirement under Fire Safety legislation. Where members of the public are invited to participate in a planned event, the event organiser and/or owner of the property or land where the event is staged has responsibility, or a duty of care, for public safety before, during and after the event, whatever the size.

What do I need to do before my event takes place?

Everyone wants their event to run smoothly and safely, so before you start promoting it to the public, have a think about the following areas and how you will take action to make sure your facilities are safe and legally compliant:

Fire Safety

Event organisers are responsible for taking steps to protect people attending the event from the risk of fire. This includes employees, contractors, volunteers, the visiting public or any other person who has a legal right to be there.

It is important to appreciate that fire is a very real risk in event environments and event organisers should recognise their statutory responsibilities to undertake a comprehensive fire risk assessment and to put in place such controls as are necessary to mitigate against these risks.

Depending on the nature, size and complexity of the event, a Fire Risk Assessment may be carried out by the event organiser or a member of the events team, providing they have the necessary skills, experience, knowledge and understanding. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to employ a fire safety specialist to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment. 

Planning

All events will need some form of event plan, the detail of which will depend upon the nature, size and complexity of the event. This plan should be a live document which records the development of the event and records any important information (e.g. issues, agreements or amendments that may arise as the event progresses).

A site plan or map of the venue is a useful communication tool for the management and control of the event. It is also useful in the event design process to plan how people will enter and exit the site, and how they will move about the site.

Also if you “grid” the event plan, you can quickly identify the dispersal routes which lead people away from the risk. It will also enable you or the event controller, to quickly identify where an incident is.

It is useful practice to use a code word when discussing potential incidents. For example, a colour code is a frequently used option:

Code Red – Fire

Code Green – Medical

Code Blue – Police

Code Black – Suspect Package

Evacuation Plan

This refers to the means of raising an alarm and routes attendees should follow to evacuate the site in event of an emergency. The "usual" way in and out of the venue/street, may be involved in fire and therefore alternative routes should be identified. This could be either a “zoned evacuation” or a “full event stop incident”. A stewarding plan may also be required to ensure onlookers can be “moved” efficiently and safely if an emergency services vehicle needs to pass through, for example.

An incident may involve a premises within the event site, but not part of the event. For example, a private residence located along the main access route for your event. As the event organiser, you need to be aware of this likelihood and maildrop all business, flats and homes nearby so that they are aware that should they call for an emergency vehicle attendance, then your event stewards may need to be notified.

Useful links

There is a wealth of really good information out there on the internet. Below are some of the most useful which you can read through to make sure you are event-ready

Good luck with your event - most of all, we hope it runs smoothly and safely!